Haydn Sonata Hob. XVI:9 - Scherzo

Updated: Feb 27


Third movement – Scherzo

This short but effective finale is structured as a clean A-B-A.

“A”’s main rhythmic feature is the fast paced semi-quaver line anchored by far less frequent quavers and crotches. Melodic-wise we can clearly see that the scalistic gestures over-rule the entire line, contouring a simple pyramidal shape. The melody travels through the chords while highly ornamented by scales. The bass simply accompanies the treble with a crisp set of harmonic fillers just when they are necessary, enhancing the rhythmic effect of the passage by clarifying the 4/4. It is fabulous to see how the step-wise movement works in the micro and macro relations. If we check the focal points -red rectangles, bars 2 to 4- we see how the scales fill the gaps between this clear descending “macro” step-wise line. All this density builds up towards the traditional double-appoggiatura at bar 4.

“B” is vertically symmetric to “A”, particularly density-wise. Now the treble is lighter while its speech more open. This melodic line is arpeggiated contrasting with the more scalistic line of “A”. The bass is tremolato around a very neat step-wise harmonic support.

The movement finishes in the exact same way it started.


In terms of the whole Sonata’s balance, the entire work is simple but cleanly conjugated. Despite being a very early sonata it already shows plenty of the characteristics that define the form. The third movement could have acquired a more complex rondo shape, but that is not a must. Taking into account the size of the first movement and its development the current feels highly coherent with the rest of the piece.

This Sonata together with two movements from the Sonata Hob. XVI:8 will be combined to build the Trio Hob. XV:39 for violin, cello and piano.

#HaydnProject #pianolessonslondon #JuanRezzuto #Haydnproject #scherzo

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